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FAQs and Misconceptions About Geothermal
What is a geothermal heat pump?
A geothermal or “ground-source” heat pump is an electrically-powered device that uses the natural heat storage ability of the earth and/or the earth’s groundwater to heat and cool your home or business at very high efficiencies.
How does a geothermal heat pump work?
Like any heat pump, a geothermal pump moves heat energy from one place to another. A geothermal heat pump is like a refrigerator because they work using the same scientific principle. By using refrigeration, the geothermal heat pump removes heat energy stored in the earth and the earth’s groundwater and transfers it to the home.
How is the heat transferred from the ground to my home?
The earth can absorb and store heat energy. To use that stored geothermal energy, it is extracted from the earth through a liquid circulated in the ground via a loop. The energy is transferred to the heat pump heat exchanger where the heat is used to heat your home. In the summer, the process is reversed, and indoor heat is extracted from your home and transferred to the earth through the liquid circulating in the loops underground.
Does a Geothermal system take up lots of space?
Most of the components of a geothermal system are buried in the ground and the rest can be installed in the basement or garage, so the entire system doesn’t take up much space.
Do I need separate geothermal ground loops for heating and cooling?
No, the same loop works for both. When changing from heating to cooling, or vice versa, the flow of heat is reversed by a mechanism inside the unit.
How long will my loop last?
Properly installed, these pipes will last over 50 years.
Will the loop effect my lawn and landscaping?
No, research has proven that loops have no adverse effect on grass, trees or shrubs. Most horizontal loop installations use trenches about three feet wide or less. This, of course, will leave temporary bare areas that can be restored with grass seed or sod. Vertical loops require less space and result in minimal lawn damage.
Are there any rebates available for geothermal?
No, at this time there is no provincial or federal rebate programs.
Are there any other loop options?
There are two other loop options that miEnergy does not offer or recommend for its projects:
- Lake or pond loops. A pond loop field can be installed when the property is located near a large body of fresh water such as a pond or lake. In Saskatchewan, our harsh winters require geothermal loops have access to reliable sources of energy. If the body of water does not have the proper capacity, it will not be able to generate the energy needed to sustain proper heat throughout the winter. Also, there are environmental policies restricting the excavation of trenches from the body of water to the structure.
- Open loops. An open loop requires an ample source of groundwater. A well is drilled into a water source, it is then circulated to the heat pump— where heat is extracted—and sent down a return well where it re-enters the water source. Open loops are less common because they require a significant and constant water source below the surface.
With vertical and horizontal ground loops, miEnergy can be confident your geothermal system will operate correctly for the lifetime of the system.
How long will my equipment last?
Just like any other mechanical system, the equipment will need to be replaced eventually. The manufacturer suggests a life-span of approximately 25 years.
Does my system come with warranty?
Yes, all of our heat pumps come with a direct-from-manufacture warranty. The warranty is a five-year labour and electrical with a 10-year on all major refrigeration components.